chance of acceptance, mGRE??, suggestions please!

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
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Joined: Sun Jun 25, 2023 11:38 pm

chance of acceptance, mGRE??, suggestions please!

Post by jordann » Sun Jun 25, 2023 11:51 pm


I'm interested in pursuing a phd in pure math (likely algebra), but wanted to get some opinions on how many schools to apply to and what my chances are so that I can plan accordingly. I'm going into my senior year in the Fall. As part of the math honors program at my school, I will be writing a thesis based on the math classes I take this fall. I will not have been able to do any REU's because of a combination of COVID, my own chronic illness (which is improving, so I'm hopeful that I will be in good shape by next fall!), and caring for an ill family member. Additionally, I took a pretty atypical life route in my early 20's and have a school gap of about 5 years before I returned to school a year and a half ago. I am also hopeful that I will be able to get some good recommendations from my professors.

University: not very special state school
Awards/Honors: Mathematics Honors program
Major: Math
Math GPA: 4.0
Overall GPA: 3.9
REU: none
Recommendations: hopefully good!
mGRE: ????

I also was wondering if you all think it makes sense for me to study for the mGRE this summer and take it in the fall? It seems like many places don't require it anymore and say that my application won't be hurt if I don't submit, but I'm not sure if it would help make up for my school or my lack of REU's if I did well? Or do my grades show my understanding of the material well enough?

Thanks so much for your thoughts. I really appreciate them!

Posts: 14
Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2022 10:54 am

Re: chance of acceptance, mGRE??, suggestions please!

Post by eamath » Sat Jul 01, 2023 3:41 pm

I would suggest consider apply to 12 schools (plus/minus a few): 4 "safety", 4 "match", and 4 "reach". Most programs in top 50 to 100 in rankings have acceptance rates less than 20-25%, many around 10% or less. It is therefore difficult to estimate if a school is a true safety, (or even a match) hence suggest 4 safeties (and 4 matches). Your professors can hopefully tell you how past students have done from your school and what schools they have been accepted at. Once you get a rough list, see how many use the mGRE. If roughly half of your choices then may be worth taking, or if your favorite schools use it. Do you tend to test well? If so, that also favors taking it. I would suggest at least 20-30 hours of prep for the test, including taking multiple practice ones following time guidelines. If you seem to be scoring in 70-80th percentile or higher in practice then it is worth going for. Note, I would NOT suggest taking the 4 free school reports when you sign up for the test. If you can afford it, wait until you see your score before sending to anyone. Also some schools let you self report at the application stage. With the sept and oct test dates, you really have to sign up for both upfront if you want to take two shots at it, as you won't have your scores from sept in time for advanced registration in the oct test date.

One other thought. If you are thinking pure math, then your are leaning strongly toward academia after PhD. There can be hundreds of candidates for a faculty position. Consider taking some computer science, data science, or applied math courses along the way to make you also attractive to industry, as faculty positions are far from guaranteed. (also some more applied internships if can along the way). Good luck!

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